Friday, December 30, 2005

Turn The Light Out, Before They Turn The Lights Out

Fembots - Count Down Our DaysThe Fembots' album "The City" was quietly released later this year and became one of my faves of 2005. Their rustic country-ish "Demolition Waltz" is one of the most heartachingly beautiful songs I've heard all year. The first single off the album was "Count Down Our Days" of which you can download the mp3 and video off The Fembots official site. I'd been experiencing problems downloading the video but finally got it yesterday(actually you can't right click and save the video; it should download to your Temporary Internet Files folder but when it's complete you should be able to copy it into a different file folder.) The video has the band performing on a beautiful summer's day in a farmer's field and the video concept is humorous. I know winter only just started but the video makes me miss the summer.

Julie Doiron and Paper Moon will be at The Drake Hotel on February 16, '06. [via Stille Post]

i(heart)music has posted his Best Albums of 2005 list. In descending order, check out albums 50 to 26 and 25 - 1. Y'know, I buy alot of CD's, but not necessarily ones within the current year; or if do buy albums within the current year, it's usually after all the buzz has subsided. I have alot of catching up to do.

The Torture Garden(an mp3 blog in Ireland) has a couple of great recent posts including a wack of Arcade Fire mp3 rarities for download as well as an interview with our own Final Fantasy during which Owen talks about his upcoming 'Dungeons & Dragons' concept album which he's entitled "He Poos Clouds".

I always like a good cover song. Italian mp3 blog Low Noise has a bunch of good ones for download including Beck's version of Nick Drake's "Pink Moon"[via Gorilla Vs. Bear]. You can also listen to that cover at Beck's official site where it and a couple more songs of Beck covering Nick Drake are currently streaming.[via More Cowbell]

mad dog in the frog also has a download of that Beck mp3 mentioned above as well as an mp3 of Iron and Wine / Calexico performing a cover of The Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses".

Download the torrent(registration required) of an audio recording of the recent(December 16, 2005) Broken Social Scene / The Most Serene Republic show at LA Maroquinerie in Paris, France. [via Largehearted Boy]

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Song For Sunshine

Belle and Sebastian, The New PornographersSaving us a little bit of sleuthing, someone over at The New Pornographer Message Forums guesses that with Belle and Sebastian scheduled for SXSW on March 15 '06 and a tourdate in France on April 22nd , the B & S/New Pornographers North American tour'll likely occur sometime between mid-February and mid-April.

In related news(or rather non-news), Spin also makes mention of the B & S/New Pornographers tour. I don't know who they've got working over at Spin, but they call Neko Case 's solo career a 'side project' and they still think Isobel Campbell is part of B & S. Sheesh.

Evan Dando will be onhand to celebrate the Horseshoe Tavern's 58th anniversary on February 11, 2006. Tickets $17.50 Adv @ Tm-Hs-Rt-Ss.

Billboard reports that The Who will be touring in 2006 to promote new material.

I'm a little late on the following info but I haven't read about it anywhere else. The Versus site points out that sound samples for the new self-titled Whysall Lane album(to be released February 6 '06 through Blackball Records) can be heard over at Midheaven Mailorder.

the oh so quiet show(via it's a trap) mentions that Sondre Lerche will be releasing two albums in 2006.

The local weeklies step into the Best-Music-Of-2005 ring with their own lists. Check out Toronto's Eye Weekly and NOW, and Hamilton's View Magazine.

Sloan did an interview recently(December 22nd) with Waterloo radio station CJIQ FM on their program The Backstage Pass. Download the interview here.

Finally props to Zoilus and Chromewaves for making Eye Weekly's Top 5 Music Blogs list.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Don't Lose The Faith

First, a rant.

The holiday season's been good so far. Christmas Day was spent with my parents, siblings, nephews and other relatives and I ventured out with my nephew on Boxing Day to pick up several goodies. I'm not sure what's been in the air the last couple of years around this time of year but things seem to happen to put a damper on the merriment. Last year was the Tsunami in South East Asia, and then just yesterday something much more close to home happened. I literally work just down the street from where the shootings happened, and I'm sure it'll be a topic of conversation when I get back to work in the new year. Strangely, yesterday late afternoon I was contemplating going to downtown Toronto(to Sam The Record Man and HMV which are just across the street from where the shootings happened) to check out some Boxing Day sales but I decided not to go afterall. Divine intervention perhaps, but I'm just glad I didn't go. With gun violence up this year in Toronto(BugMeNot) I can't help but feel just a little antsy every now and then about going downtown. The saddest part of the whole shooting incident was the victims injured/killed, including a teenage girl(who'd been Boxing Day shopping with her mother) who was caught in the crossfire and died as a result. I send my prayers out to the families. Let's hope that 2006 and beyond are safer times because senseless acts of violence like what happened yesterday are really starting to piss me off.

On a different note, my brother's decided he wants to learn guitar, so I've been showing him some of my rudimentary guitar skills(scales, chords, finger position) to get him started. His enthusiasm rubbed off on me because I started to bang out some chords to some familiar indie tunes to entertain myself today. I strummed out the chords and hummed the tune to The Dears' "Don't Lose The Faith", perhaps as a reaction to my feelings towards the subject above. Coincidence perhaps, but nonetheless timely. Like the lyrics express(at least the way I understand them), it's easy to give in, but we all need someone telling us things'll get better.
The DearsOn a Dears tangent, the band's European record label Bella Union are offering a free 2006 CD sampler(with a minimum order; only until the end of this month) featuring unreleased/demos of tracks from artists on their roster including a demo of a song by The Dears called "There Goes My Outfit". The CD sampler also includes unreleased tracks from new Bella Union signees including Fionn Regan, Mazarin and My Latest Novel.

Also, according to The Dears over at their MySpace page, they've started recording their new album!

Watch a live session of Broken Social Scene performing "Shorelines" as part of BBC - collective's new talent 2006 sessions. [via Live Net Music]

Check out some more 2005 Music Best-Of Lists, this time from Interpretations Diverses(a French blog with three contributors each offering their top 10 lists with mp3 links) and the oh so quiet show(whose list includes an unfamiliar artist or two, notably Mazarin, that I think I'll want to check out).

As I mentioned above, I didn't venture to downtown Toronto yesterday but I made some decent Boxing Day purchases here in the 'burbs including first season DVD boxsets of "Arrested Development" , "The Lone Gunmen" , and "Harsh Realm", $20.00 each at Walmart. I picked up Fiona Apple's "Extraordinary Machine" for $9.99 at Best Buy and the DVD of "21 Grams" for $5.99 at HMV.

Oh, and Fiona Apple should have so totally have made it to Stereogum's top 10 indie rock hottie list. Ok so she's not indie rock but so was the case with alot of the other nominees, so there.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Needle Has Landed

Neko Case: screen capture from 'Fox Confessor Brings The Flood' EPK

Having had a more attentive viewing today of Neko Case's EPK[right click and download] for her upcoming album "Fox Confessor Brings The Flood", I realize how much I enjoy listening to Neko speak about her music. Her stories behind new songs like "Dirty Knife"(inspired by a folkloric story from her grandmother) and "The Needle Has Landed"(written about her feeling out of touch with her hometown of Tacoma, Washington) beg for a VH1 Storytellers-style tour. I'd didn't trip over myself to try to get tickets to her intimate show on January 4th at the Rivoli in Toronto and now I'm a little disappointed that I didn't try. As the show will be a preview of her upcoming album and with the venue being quite intimate, it'll be the perfect opportunity for a little storytelling. I'm just hoping that one of you lucky attendees will be recording the night for posterity(and subsequently sharing it with the rest of us).

Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story...with bunnies!Watch the modern Christmas classic "A Christmas Story" in 30 seconds...with bunny rabbits! [via copacetic]

Still looking for that perfect(or at least near perfect) Christmas soundtrack to play at the family party? Pimps of Gore has a nifty one for download.

I have to thank Live Net Music for pointing me towards ManiaTV. It includes an online music television station. It seems to be a bit of a bandwidth hog but if you're lucky you'll get a steady stream. Check out the archived 'Artist of the day' interviews which includes Stars. The current 'Artist of the day' profile is Spoon featuring an interview with frontman Britt Daniel.

As a Christmas present to the fans, Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake kindly posted over at the Teenage Fanclub Messageboard a rare song called "Patty Girl" by an American midwest group called Garry and The Hornets which he mentioned The Fannies had covered with Big Star for an NME charity single a few years back. Norman says that the group's drummer was seven, the bass player was fourteen and the singer/guitarist was twelve. Oh, the innocence. But actually the song is alright.

chartattack takes a look back at its staff writers' Top 15 Records of 2005 then looks ahead with a comprehensive listing of things to do in Toronto on New Year's Eve.

And speaking of the new year, there ARE things to look forward to. ...Neko Case's new album "Fox Confessor Brings The Flood" will be released on March 7, 2006 through ANTI-. I just came across the EPK which previews the new album. Take a gander. ...Over at Stille Post, the Hamilton board indicates a couple of shows for The Casbah including controller.controller & OK Go on February 8th and Mr. Lemonheads himself, Evan Dando on February 12th. I assume Toronto dates'll follow for both, at least for Evan Dando.

Have a safe and happy Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Canada, Australia, Indie Rock Hotties And More

Jenny Lewis: #1 Indie Rock Hottie(Female)With some downtime between Christmas and New Year's since I'm not working, I'll probably throw in a year-end/best-of list or two into the ring sometime next week. Or maybe not. We'll see how it goes. For now, check out some of the more interesting lists/polls below!

Popmatters profiles 2005: A Year in Canadian Rock.

A Reminder polled Austrialian music bloggers for the Top 25 Australian Bands/Artists. [via Largehearted Boy]

The Montreal Mirror lists the very best(and absolute worst) music(on disc and onstage) of 2005.

Stereogum has the results of his readers poll for #1 Indie Rock Hottie(Female) of 2005. [via My Indie World]

A little late on this link but Womenfolk has some womenly holiday music for download.

Check out Morning Becomes Eclectic this afternoon at 2:15 pm EST(11:15 am PST) when they celebrate "A John Waters Christmas".

Sarah Liss of NOW reviews Stars' February 15th Lee's Palace show.

The way they were: Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett @ C'est What(Toronto, Ontario), November 20, 1996. Download the torrent(registration required). (I wish I went to this show.) [torrent link via Largehearted Boy]

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Silent League, Holy Night

The Silent LeagueChristmas is fast approaching. Maintain your sanity. Here's some Christmas-related links to entertain you along the way:

  • Largehearted Boy points to an mp3 download of The Silent League covering the Peanuts Gang Christmas classic "Christmas Time Is Here". Wow that's lovely. A quick web search and I've found out that The Silent League is an orchestral-pop project led by Mercury Rev keyboardist Justin Russo. I'm liking what I've heard so far even if Pitchfork didn't like their record. Apparently the band performed a live session for XFM today but no links to it so far; in the meantime check out this older session they did for XFM. [photo from http://../]

  • Brian Setzer performed a live session of Christmas tunes for NPR: World Cafe. Listen here. I know the swing/rockabilly music might not be cool with you indie-rock kids but I still dig it every now and then.

  • Just Keep Bloggin' points to Feist's cover of 'Lo How A Rose E'er Bloomin' which is included as part of the 'Wreck The Hallz' Christmas compliation, which you can download here.

  • chartattack reviews Stars' December 17th evening show at Lee's Palace. [via Blacking Out The Friction] For an all-inclusive look at Stars' six-show Lee's Palace stint, The Toronto Star reviews ALL SIX SHOWS.(Thanks to Katie in the comments of my previous post for pointing that out.)

    More best-of-2005 albums lists, this time from Zoilus(a mixed bag that includes some obvious but mostly not-so-obvious picks) and Aversion(which is usually punk-centric, but has a surprisingly indie-centric Best of 2005 list.)

    You Ain't No Picasso has some rare-ish Destroyer mp3's for download. (And now I'm gonna dig up that Vancouver Nights CD which I've neglected for so long.)

    Finally, The Barmitzvah Brothers have a show at Rivoli in Toronto on January 20th. Oh and a one miss Neko Case has a show there on January 4th...that last tidbit via Chromewaves.

    Monday, December 19, 2005

    Look Up

    Stars @ Lee's Palace(December 15, 2005): photo by Mike LigonThe Stars links just keep a comin'! Check out reviews of Saturday's show(December 17th) by Just Keep Bloggin' and A soundtrack for everyone. Thanks to both of them for graciously linking back to me. suckingalemon was at Saturday's afternoon show, so stay tuned for her review; in the meantime she has a wonderful photo of Amy Millan from that show.

    Update: suckingalemon's review is now up. Also check out Blacking Out The Friction's review of the Saturday show. Amanda has some really nice photos from Stars' December 16th show. And according to committed's comments on Stars Saturday night show, if you saw any couples making out during the show it may have been because Stars needed scenes of people making out because they were shooting part of their new music video...that last bit of news especially for Just Keep Bloggin'

    By the way, in Just Keep Bloggin's review linked above she mentioned that the show was recorded for an upcoming live DVD!

    A little late with this link, but JAM! spoke to Stars' Torq Campbell in advance of their Lee's Palace stint. I found the following quote from Torq(on why he writes love songs) particularly insightful:
    "It seems to me that every major religion and philosophy, since the birth of humankind, has ultimately concluded that, without love, we die. So when people ask me why I write love songs, well, I'm not sure why people write anything but love songs."

    And finally, the BBC 6 Music Gideon Coe session of Stars' recent live session from Decemeber 9, 2005 is permanently archived here.

    Thank you, Stars.
    XFM recently archived the recent live session that Broken Social Scene performed for them. BSS performed ‘Ibi Dreams Of Pavement’, ‘Fire Eyed Boy’, ‘Swimmers’, and ‘Super Connected’.

    Chromewaves mentioned last week that Stereolab are coming back to Toronto for a show at The Phoenix on March 14th.

    Effective December 15th, Rogers discontinued access to Usenet newsgroups. More info here. I'm a little disappointed but I guess with the advent of MP3 blogs, I was utilizing the newsgroups less and less anyway.

    Saturday, December 17, 2005

    One More Night

    concert review: An Evening With 'Stars' @ Lee's Palace(Toronto, Ontario), December 15, 2005

    Stars @ Lee's Palace: photo by Mike LigonUshering in the first night of Stars' run of six sold-out shows over four days at Lee's Palace was Toronto's first winter storm. Thankfully it had tapered off a bit by the time I headed down to Lee's Palace and I made it there just before Stars' came on. The stage had a beautiful silk-screened wintery scene with trees and a house that draped the back wall of the stage and it was adorned with white lights that gave it a nice dreamy effect. The band was rounded out with a lovely lady on violin and a gentleman(wearing A Tribe Called Quest "The Love Movement" t-shirt!) on saxophone. Over the course of just under an hour and half (including encore), Stars played a set of their shimmering pop tunes.

    All the usual suspects were included in the set except for "Heart" and "Look Up" and you can see the setlist here. (Apparently Stars did play "Heart" and "Lookup" at yesterday's show.) There was an ebb and flow to the setlist that had dreamy pop numbers like "Ageless Beauty" and "Elevator Love Song" coming up at strategic points in the set to give the show a burst of energy between the mellower material. Torq was chipper as usual with his humorous remarks. He made a reference to the weather outside which he expressed was just like another part of the stage set(courtesy of God as he put it). Coincidentally, the wintery weather did put me in a very 'Stars' mood. Amy was a vixen maybe more than usual, at one point during the intro to one song, asking the audience for some 'sex'(well, that's what I heard) which drew a roar from the crowd. It was a pleasure to see the energy that Torq and Amy had on stage. The set closer was their current single "You Ex-Lover Is Dead" and it was impossible not to think of how the wintery weather outside perfectly complimented the images of the song's music video that were floating in my mind. Torq started off his vocal parts but when Amy's turn came and she sung "This scar is a fleck on my porcelain skin, You tried to reach deep but you couldn't got in", it was absolutely mesmerizing. The saxophone and violin combined beautifully during the song's instrumental breaks and the bass guitar, keyboards and drums meshed well as the song crescendoed during it's latter half. It was a spectacular way to end off the main set.

    The encore ended up being four songs with the highlights being Amy's vocal turn on "Calendar Girl" and the band's cover of The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York". It was wonderful to see the enthusiasm thrown into the vocals parts during "Fairytale of New York" with a piss-and-vinegar attitude that came dizzingly close to that of Shane McGowan and Kirsty MacColl. Even if the show with the encore clocked in at about an hour and half, it all seemed to be over too soon. But I guess the best shows are always like that. Everyone that's going to the other Stars shows at Lee's Palace over the next few days, you are in for a treat. [photos from the show]
    By the way, City Slang is offering a free limited-time mp3 download(registration required) of Stars' cover of "Fairytale of New York" taken from the b-side of the "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" single. I bought the CD single Thursday night and my copy is released by Arts and Crafts. I highly recommend you pick it up because it contains a different version of the title single. While the album version of "Your Ex-Lover is Dead" has a certain majestic quality, the version on the single is more stripped down and has a more intimate feel. But it's lovely all the same.

    Thursday, December 15, 2005

    We've Got 'Stars' Big As Bars, We've Got Rivers Of Gold

    Stars live session for BBC 6 Music's Gideon Coe - Dec 2005

    I'm getting ready to head down to Lee's Palace for the first of 6 shows that Stars has lined up for Toronto over the next 4 days. Of couse it had to be on a wintery day like today(I'm not looking forward to the driving) but maybe that'll put them in the mood to perform The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York" tonight(maybe they can change all the New York City references in the lyrics to Toronto references!). I'm a little under the weather today also but I'm hopped up on the cold medicine and Vitamin C, and after the little nap I had this evening, I'm raring to go!

    Eye Weekly had a brief Q & A with Stars' Torq Campbell about how they'll survive 6 shows over 4 days. Hehe.

    The Montreal Mirror talks to Stars' Evan Cranley about God and religion. Stars, Christian rock - yay or nay?

    Wednesday, December 14, 2005

    Poll Position

    pop(all love) posted yesterday the results of what he's entitled The Second Annual Pop (All Love) Canadian Music Bloggers Year-End Poll Thingy. A number of us Canadian music bloggers were polled for our top 4 Canadian albums of the year, so for the record, my list was as follows(I was gonna do this originally all nice with album cover art, comments, mp3 links but I'm lazy today; maybe I'll update the post later):

    1. The New Pornographers - "Twin Cinema"
    2. The Diableros - "You Can't Break The Strings In Our Olympic Hearts"
    3. The Fembots - "The City"
    4. Broken Social Scene - "Broken Social Scene"

    In response to my post last Friday, suckingalemon(over at brokensocialite) and Out Of The Archives have both graciously provided an mp3 rip of Stars' recent live cover of The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York" which they performed recently for BBC 6 Music's Gideon Coe on December 9, 2006.

    Torr further spreads the holiday cheer with his own Christmas music mix.

    Hard-Fi will make their Toronto debut at Horseshoe Tavern on January 20th in the new year. [via Emerge]

    The Christian-oriented indie-rockness of Danielson have always been a curiosity. I'd heard them back in the 90's and couldn't get past the vocalist's voice but I think I want to give 'em a second chance. They already have two Toronto dates scheduled for the new year, first for May 6th and then August 2nd, both dates venue TBA. [via Kork]

    So I got one of those e-mail updates from Billions and read the following(which I've copied and pasted below):
    "The New Pornographers have cranked it up another notch with the release of Twin Cinema, their strongest and best-selling record in a catalog of stellar efforts. Their live draw has continued to grow exponentially and they just performed on NBC’s Late Night With Conan O’Brien. Catch their infectious show on the road with Belle and Sebastian early in 2006."

    Did I read that last line correctly? OMG. Belle and Sebastian AND The New Pornographers on the same bill. I hope to God they mean North American(and especially Canadian) tour dates.

    Monday, December 12, 2005

    Winter Pageant

    Rose MelbergAccording to a post over at the K Records message board, Rose Melberg(of The Softies, Tiger Trap) will be releasing her new solo album "Cast Away The Clouds" on April 25, 2006 through Double Agent Records. Ms. Melberg also has a MySpace site.

    You Ain't No Picasso reports that Of Montreal will be hitting the road again for more touring in the new year including a stop in Toronto at The Mod Club on March 8th.

    Alison Outhit(ex of Halifax 90's indie rockers Rebecca West) will be joining Toronto's Rock Central Plaza tomorrow December 13th at Tranzac in Toronto. [via Stille Post]

    There's way too many lists for me to keep up with but some deserve some link-love. Are You Familiar? compiled The Alternative List of Canadian Bands By A Few of The Other Canadian Bloggers put together by himself, Goldkicks, and Stuart Berman (Eye Weekly). Also, check out(if you haven't yet already), Chromewaves Top 10 Albums of 2005.

    Zoilus' Carl Wilson has an article in The New York Times about Toronto's Owen Pallett, aka Final Fantasy. [via Largehearted Boy]

    Heads up on some Can-con indie torrent links including(links via Largehearted Boy):

  • Great Lake Swimmers in Copenhagen, Denmark - May 10 2005

  • Stars @ Wow Hall in Eugene, Oregon - November 16 2003

  • The Arcade Fire is BBC Radio 1 Steve Lamacq's Headline Set for his December 12, 2005 show. Listen here(only archived for a week; Headline Set is about 1 hr and 15 min into the program). The show information/setlist is as follows:
    Recorded live at Leadmill in Sheffield
  • No Cars Go

  • Haiti

  • Old Flame

  • Neighborhood #1

  • Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)

  • Rebellion(Lies)

  • Neighborhood #2 (Laika)

  • While you're over at BBC Radio 1 Steve Lamacq's site, have a listen(about 56 min into the December 12, 2005 program) to the charity single of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" performed by a group of UK North East indie music acts(including members of The Futureheads) who've formed under the banner of 'The Joseph And Mary Chain'. (Check my post from last Friday for more info about the single.) If that doesn't get you into the Christmas spirit, I don't know what will.

    Saturday, December 10, 2005

    Jingle Bell Rock

    Santa ClausWhile indie rock Christmas songs have been infiltrating the season over the past couple of years(via the blogsophere, "The O.C.", etc...) I think it's reaching its saturation point. And like conventional Christmas tunage, we all get sick of it eventually with too much overplaying. Still, I'd rather hear Mark Kozelek sing "White Christmas"(included in part two of the infinite Pet's Christmas mix below) than Bing Crosby any day. The problem with some of these indie-rock Christmas mixes is that they sometimes include songs that don't sound Christmas-y at all(people please stop including Big Star's "Jesus Christ", however good a song it might be). I don't necessarily equate Christmas music with only traditional songs, however. More modern tunes like Paul McCartney's "A Wonderful Christmas Time", Wham's "Last Christmas"(actually I prefer Jimmy Eat World's version), or The Walkmen's "Christmas Party"[mp3], are more than Christmas-y to me. I've linked to a couple of more Christmas indie music links below; yes they include many versions of songs that I've been hearing alot over the last couple of Christmas' which I'm already starting to grow weary of. Still with only two more weeks till Christmas, I might as well drown myself in the Christmas tunes now. It'd be silly listening to "Jingle Bell Rock" in January.

    the infinite PET posted a two part indie Christmas mix. Download parts one and two.

    There's a fantastic Christmas indie mix you can download over at Stille Post.

    Proving that there's a tonne of music that I haven't heard this year, check out Torr's list of The 25 best singles you didn't buy this year. I didn't buy any releases from the artists, and I've only heard 3 of the artists mentioned(Hard-Fi, Mew, Richard Hawley).

    Absolutely Kosher will be releasing The Hidden Cameras - 'The Arms of his "ill"' as a CD EP on February 21, 2006. The 8-song 4-track demo companion piece to the second Hidden Cameras LP, "Mississauga Goddam" was originally only available on 10" vinyl.

    CKLN's 'Wired For Sound' will be broadcasting part 2 of a live Yo La Tengo set recorded in Toronto(?). Don't know the details of the recording but the last time YLT swung through Toronto was in 2003 when they played Ryerson Theatre(I was at that show.), so maybe this'll be it. You can listen online this evening at midnight EST.

    Friday, December 09, 2005

    Live Through This And You Won't Look Back

    Stars - 'Your Ex-Lover Is Dead'Stars performed a live session for BBC 6 Music's Gideon Coe this morning. They performed "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" and their cover of The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York"!!!!!(perfect timing, especially with the fresh blanket of snow that Ontario got this morning). Listen here(the session is about 1 hr and 40 min into the program and the program is only archived for a week. Hopefully the session will be archived permanently in the future.) Update: Here is a photo gallery of the session.

    Here is a lovely photo gallery of Stars' recent concert in Paris on December 6, 2005. [via Arts & Crafts Broken Telephone Forums]

    As an added Stars bonus, download Stars' music video "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" here. [via German music blog, Blogging For Compliments*]

    Filter continues it's celebrity top-ten music lists with Feist listing her top ten albums of 2005. [via Villains Always Blink]

    Pete Carmichael of Toronto's up and coming The Diableros is on the cover of this week's NOW. Read the cover story.

    The Sydney Morning Herald speaks with Stephen Malkmus.

    Eye Weekly gives some press to the Ear To The Ground Festival cancellation debacle. Eye Weekly reports that the festival's board of directors will be posting a statement to still showing 'The Page Cannot Be Displayed'), presumably about the status of refunds still to be issued to passholders. I mailed my wristband with all required refund forms and documents to the Ear To The Ground festival organizers and I'm patiently waiting for my refund. ...I'm not holding my breath.

    Billing themselves as 'The Joseph And Mary Chain', a group of UK North East Indie music acts have banded together to record 'The 12 Days of Christmas' which will be released as a vinyl 7-inch single on December 19th through Distraction Records. The Futureheads get the coveted "Five Golden Rings" verse! Limited to 1000 copies. Listen to a sample here(scroll down for the mp3 link.) Sure to be part of every indie Christmas music mix next year! [via xfm online]

    Wednesday, December 07, 2005

    We've Got Love And Hate, It's The Only Way

    'Almost Crimes' Scandinavian-style!Here's a video of a recent trip to Scandinavia with a group of Architecture students from Ball State University. The video is set to the music of "Almost Crimes" by Broken Social Scene and is quite well edited in my opinion. Oh, if everyone's travel video could be like this.

    Here are various people interpreting The Arcade Fire's "Rebellion(Lies)". I'm really getting addicted to Google Video.

    Broken Social Scene were featured on NPR's 'Day To Day' on December 6, 2005. Listen here.

    The Deadly Snakes/The Constantines are scheduled for a two night stint at Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto on January 27 and 28, 2006. Tickets $17.50 for each night. Looks like they're taking turns as headliners the way the shows are listed over at Rotate This.

    Also via Rotate This, The Wedding Present are back at Lee's Palace on March 16, 2006. Tickets $16.00

    Some indie-rock Christmas mp3 linkage over at The Test Pilot. [via Rock Snob]

    Anyone lucky enough to pick up that 99 cent Cat Power 7-inch single of "The Greatest" b/w "Hate"? Got mine yesterday!

    The online version of the new issue(December 2005) of Exclaim! is now up! It includes a retrospective on The Fall.

    And, what if...

    Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    Better Weather

    The Heavy Blinkers at BBC Radio OxfordThe Heavy Blinkers performed a live session and were interviewed on BBC Radio Oxford on December 3, 2005. Listen to the interview where you get to hear the 'Blinkers' impressions of England including that a) everyone there smokes and b) that the service industry there(eg. waiters) are poor listeners. ;-) Listen to the live session here(the interview starts about a half hour into the program with the performance right after; please note this link[ie. the Dec 3rd program] is only active for a week). Also check out some UK tour photos over at their blog starting with the November 17th, 2005 post.

    i(heart)music posts his list of The Seven Best EPs of 2005.

    a soundtrack for everyone has a song-by-song review of Toronto's Ninja High School's "Young Adults Against Suicide".

    From Blown Speakers has a thoughtful album retrospective(including some mp3 downloads) for Scotland's Idlewild.

    Waved Rumor has links to a couple of interesting Christmas CD mixes to help you get a start on your own mixes.

    According to The Diableros' website, they have some upcoming Toronto shows including:

  • December 13th @ The Speakeasy with The Patients and Grassy Knoll & The Magic Bullit

  • December 22nd @ The Silver Dollar with Uncut, Nick Flanagan, Dan Burke, Davy Love and more

  • January 14th @ The Horseshoe Tavern with We Are Scientists and The Oxford Collapse

  • Brooklynvegan reports that The Pogues are scheduled for a brief US tour this coming March, which reminds does anyone know when Stars' cover of The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York" is suppose to be released? According to this older Pitchfork news item, it was suppose to be a b-side to the "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" single in the UK, although I can't find any info about when that single will be released. I would have thought that RIGHT NOW would have been a perfect time to release the single since the Christmas season's upon us.

    Taking potshots at James Blunt is way too easy, but also way too pleasurable.

    Monday, December 05, 2005

    Holiday Road

    Matt Pond PACue Matt Pond Pa's "Holiday Road" and continue reading.

    extrawack! polls Matt Pond of Matt Pond PA on his favourite music of 2005.

    Dropcast's most recent podcast(episode #7) features an interview with Brian Pearl of Matt Pond PA(about 17 min and 45 secs into the podcast). He does mention the possibility of a co-headling tour with Youth Group this coming February and March, although that remains unconfirmed. [photo credit: Shawn Brackbill]

    Via The Magic Numbers message forum, here's a torrent of the recent episode of Late Night With Conan O'Brien which featured The Magic Numbers as the musical guest performing their song "Love Me Like You". Or you can download the .WMV file of the performance.

    Donewaiting points out that recently introduced onlive archives of some of the musical artists featured as part of their Lounge Acts live sessions. The Neko Case session(from June 16, 2005) is sublime.

    An Aquarium Drunkard gets into the holiday spirit with some links to sites that have interesting and unconventional Christmas music for download.

    chartattack reports on the recent endeavours of UK indie-pop band Tender Trap.

    BBC Radio 1's Steve Lamacq featured Broken Social Scene in a live session on November 28, 2005. Unfortunately, the program's no longer archived(as with other BBC Radio programs, they're usually only archived for a week.) However, I was lucky enough to catch the November 28th archived program earlier today. BSS performed stripped down versions of 'Ibi Dreams of Pavement', 'Major Label Debut', and 'Swimmers'. ANYONE happen to rip these to audio files?

    As a reminder, The Arcade Fire will be Steve Lamacq's Headline Set for his December 12, 2005 show. Mark your calendars.

    Sunday, December 04, 2005

    Plus and Minus

    Minus 5So rather than Robyn Hitchcock make up some of the dates(including Toronto and Hamilton ones) he cancelled this year which were to be with The Sadies as his backing band, Mr. Hitchcock's hitting the road in the US in the new year with Minus 5.(Yay for US if you live there, boo for Canada. Grrr.) Minus 5 will be releasing their eponymous-titled new album(also being referred to as "The Gun Album") on February 7, 2006 and will feature members of Wilco, R.E.M., and The Decemberists. [via Yep Roc]

    Via the Arts & Crafts Broken Telephone forums, download Broken Social Scene's Morning Becomes Eclectic session(from November 1, 2005) from vanmega and download an mp3 of BSS' "All The Gods"(b-side of the City Slang 7" single of "Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)") over at Thank God I'm A Nutsack.

    The Shins spoke to Rolling Stone about their upcoming album for Sub Pop which they will release under the title of either "Wincing the Night Away" or "Sleeping Lessons", references to frontman James Mercer's insomnia problem. The band hopes to release the album next summer. [via Waved Rumor]

    Thanks to Just Keep Bloggin' for pointing me towards Stars' new music video for "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" which you can view courtesy of Muchmusic.

    Morcheeba will be performing a live session this afternoon for KEXP at 5:00pm PST(or 8:00 pm EST). Listen online.

    While Reverend Horton Heat's new Christmas album "We Three Kings" is being slagged by many critics, why not check out their version of "Run Run Rudolph" here(check the left sidebar under 'Media') and sample it for yourself? It isn't that bad. It put me in the Christmas mood at least.

    Saturday, December 03, 2005

    Don't Fail Me Now

    concert review: The Magic Numbers w/ David Kitt @ Lee's Palace(Toronto, Ontario), December 1, 2005

    The Magic Numbers w/ David Kitt at Lee's PalaceThis past Thursday night at Lee's Palace was the closing date of UK's The Magic Numbers' current North American tour. While I think many of their dates were as openers for Bright Eyes there was a palpable enthusiasm Tuesday night for both the band and the audience as The Magic Numbers were headlining this show. Opening the show was Dublin Ireland artist David Kitt. Going into the show I had no previous knowledge of him but I arrived just in time to catch the start of his set. Unassuming as he was on stage with just a guitar, I think alot of people didn't expect much from him because there was ALOT of chatting going on while he was performing. His music's quite fantastic in my opinion. I'd expected some sort of boring singer-songwriter shit but thankfully he took a more intelligent pure pop approach. I didn't know he was Irish but I caught hints of an accent that made me think he was British or from New Zealand(at times his songs reminded me of New Zealand pop artists like The Chills or The Bats). Switching from acoustic guitar to electric at one point, he turned up the volume on a couple of songs that reminded me of Ted Leo or Billy Bragg. I think he got the crowd's attention the most when he switched on the drum loops to back him up on several songs, giving those songs a fuller band sound. As a treat to the Toronto audience, The Magic Numbers backed up Mr. Kitt(as David mentioned, this was the first time they tried this) on his last song, a twang-inflected pop number which featured nice backing vocals from the 'Numbers.

    While I'd only picked up The Magic Numbers' self-titled debut CD about a month ago and thought it was pleasant if sometimes inspiring pop music, I thought there was an aura of restraint on the album that I wasn't sure if they'd overcome in a live setting. I'm glad to say that the show was such an awesome experience. Their modest behaviour on stage combined with their sunny pop melodies translated into a likeable charm that the audience immediately latched onto. One female audience member who was so enthralled shouted something along the lines of "You're fuckin' awesome!""you guys are so fucking lovely!", half-jokingly followed with "you complete us!". The tune that followed was a new one which prompted Magic Numbers' Romeo Stodart to say to that excited audience member that "this song's obviously dedicated to you!" Playing songs off their self-titled debut, there were alot of highlights to choose from. My favourites were the pop swing of "Forever Lost", a sped up version of "Love Me Like You Do"(featuring the lovely background vox of Angela and Michelle), the twang-inflected bounce of "Long Legs" and the inspiring duet between Romeo and Angela of "I See You, You See Me", which when Angela took control of the vocals was such a goosebump-inducing experience. Angela Gannon has one of the best female vocals I've come across in recent years and I hope to hear more of it in the future. Not to be outdone, Michele's vocals, while not as polished as Angela's were still quite lovely especially on the repeated refrain of "don't fail me now" during the coda of "Love Me Like You Do". With the bits of melodica, tambourine, handclaps and (I think)xylophone interspersed throughout the set by Angela Gannon, as well as the energetic instrumental contributions from drummer Sean Gannon, bassist Michele Stodart and frontman/guitarist Romeo Stodart, The Magic Numbers breathed a breath of fresh air into their songs whose album versions were somewhat restrained in comparison.

    The encore was a musical love-in that ranged from The Magic Numbers' now-familiar and enjoyable take on Beyonce's "Crazy In Love"(without the rap unfortunately), to a Pogues-ish romp which brought up opener David Kitt as well as 'Numbers crew members to the stage to join in the festivities, including their sound guy who played a mean harmonica. The band ended off the evening with The Magic Numbers' frontman Romeo, thanking the audience and encouraging everyone to join in on the chorus of "Wheels On Fire". It was a surprisingly mellow note to end on(especially, given the giddiness of their previous song) but in retrospect it was more than appropriate. The Magic Numbers aren't about being fashionable after all. And that in itself is the most refreshing thing about them. [photos from the show]
    The Big Ticket started his thoughtful daily posting(til Christmas) of his top songs of 2005, including mp3's. Check out tracks 1 and 2, and 3 and 4 so far. There's some Canadian content within the first four tunes, including songs from The Constantines, Broken Social Scene and The Russian Futurists.

    I noticed over at the Lee's Palace site that Los Angeles-based artist Inara George will also be included as part of the Nada Surf/Rogue Wave bill on March 11, 2006. I've previously said good things about her so I'll be tempted to check this show out.

    Listen to a streaming live session of The New Pornographers on Club 3VOOR12(dutch radio) from November 30, 2005. [via Live Net Music]

    chartattack reports that Sirius Canada will launch its satellite radio service with two concerts including one in Toronto at The Mod Club on December 6th. The show is suppose to feature Feist, Kathleen Edwards, The Trews and Ron Sexsmith. Looks like an industry event. Feist AND Kathleen under one roof...sigh.

    View Magazine speaks with Sarah Harmer and the acoustic approach she's taken with her recent album "I'm a Mountain".